Air lubrication to play role in low-emissions shipping concepts

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UK technology company Silverstream Technologies says that it will be part of a consortium led by the University of Vaasa, Finland, which has been granted EU funding under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program to accelerate shipping’s decarbonization pathway.

Project CHEK (Decarbonizing Shipping by Enabling Key Technology Symbiosis on Real Vessel Concept Designs) looks to combine the expertise of a range of market players, including Silverstream Technologies, Cargill Ocean Transportation, MSC Cruises, Wärtsilä, Lloyd’s Register, Climeon, Deltamarin, BAR Technologies, Hasytec Electronics and the World Maritime University, with the aim of reducing shipping emissions through the integrated use of low-carbon energy forms and propulsion systems, combined with energy efficiency technologies.

The consortium will work together to demonstrate the impact of a holistic approach to emission reduction in the design of two concept vessels: a bulk carrier, which will utilize sails to capture wind energy; and a cruise ship powered by hydrogen fuel. Both ship designs will feature Silverstream’s air lubrication technology as a central part of a suite of complementary energy efficiency technologies. Silverstream notes that its system, which reduces friction on a vessel’s hull, has been proven to generate between 5-10% net emissions savings, depending on vessel parameters.

By treating energy efficiency as a fundamental building block of vessel design, and combining it with the application of clean technologies and future fuels, the project partners estimate that the designs under development will achieve a 99% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a 50% cut in energy consumption.

Commenting on the new consortium, Noah Silberschmidt, CEO, Silverstream Technologies, said, “Bold and progressive vessel designs that combine the most effective clean technologies with the cleanest future fuels are an obvious and necessary next step for a sector that needs to tackle decarbonization today. This project recognizes the central role that efficiency technologies will play in that decarbonization journey. It also reflects the fact that only by uniting the best efficiency ideas and practices in integrated and intelligent designs will we achieve our goals.

Project CHEK is scheduled to commence in spring 2021 and the consortium believes that the approach to emissions reduction pioneered in the two initial vessel designs can also be applied to other vessel types, such as tankers, container ships, general cargo vessels and ferries.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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